Auraria hosts rally for women’s health

Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks at Planned Parenthood’s “Ask Mitt: Rally for the Presidential Debate at St. Cajetan’s Oct. 2. Photo by Brian T. McGinn

Planned Parenthood had a few questions to ask Mitt Romney.

Students, Colorado politicians and women’s health advocates gathered Oct. 2 in St. Cajetan’s to rally for to reelect Obama. Hosted by Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado, the group demands more concrete answers from Romney on his stand on women’s health issue.

Vicki Cowart, president of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado and regional president of Planned Parenthood in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Southern Nevada, emceed the rally and opened with direct question for Romney.

“How come you don’t understand what it’s like to be a woman in this country?” she asked to cheers and applause.

Colorado congresswoman Diana DeGette (D) also acts as the co-chairperson of the Pro-Choice caucus in the US House of Representatives. She spoke of the changes that were made two years ago when the House became controlled by republicans.

“I’ve seen women’s health and women’s reproductive rights hijacked by the Tea Party,” she said. “And we will not forget in this election.”

Unlike his fellow guests, US Senator Michael Bennet (D) did not even mention Romney’s name as he stressed the importance of reelecting Obama.

“We need to keep him there because the choice is so stark in this election between Barack Obama, who will stand up and make sure women can make these decisions for themselves, and the other ticket to the far right of their party,” Bennet said. “They do not represent to bulk of Colorado’s republicans much less their democrats or independents. That’s why we need to make sure we get Barack Obama elected.”

Governor John Hickenlooper spoke of his mother’s long-time support of Planned Parenthood and her encouragement to all of her children to participate.

“All of us have pledged to give away ten percent of our income,” he said. “All of us support Planned Parenthood.”

The final guest of the evening was Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and daughter of Texas governor Ann Richards.

“We’re here to let Mitt Romney know that we’re watching, and we’re watching him,” Richards said. “The women of America and the men of America deserve to know where Mitt Romney stands on women’s healthcare.”

While the guests inside St. Cajetan’s appeared to be supportive of Planned Parenthood, a handful of protesters outside were anything but.

The protesters stood outside of the church with religious pamphlets and graphic pictures of aborted babies.

Students were separated from the dissenters with saw horses, while campus police stood nearby to make sure the demonstration didn’t get out of hand.

Clifton Powell, holding a protest sign and a video camera described the handful of protesters as a “loose-knit group,” who attended various churches. They were not, he said, part of an organization.

“We protest at the Planned Parenthood clinic on 38th and Pontiac [Street],” he said. He gestured to a man standing on the church steps watching the protest. “That’s a Planned Parenthood security guard watching us.”

MSU Denver junior Christopher York spoke of giving a son up for adoption but said that he would support a woman’s right to have an abortion.

“You cannot tell someone what to do with the inside of their body,” York said.

Protester Kenneth Tyler Scott carried a flag hung upside down and a graphic protest sign. He said very little about abortion. His message, rather, had an anti-Muslim tone.
His words were shouted “street-preacher” style as he singled out Muslim students.

“What does this have to do with us?” Shaza Tagir, a MSU Denver sophomore asked. “Why is he yelling at us? Islam does not support abortion.”

Fartun Faray, a CCD freshman was also unhappy about Scott’s words.

“I respect Christians,” she said. “I just ask them to respect us. Why do they always blame us when they’re not happy about something?”
Scott’s wife Jo left the scene when a handful of male students began to make vulgar statements that were met by her husband and Powell.
“It’s like being in the deepest, darkest part of Africa,” Jo Scott said of the students. “They have no conception of God.”

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Kelli Heitstuman-Tomko

Kelli Heitstuman-Tomko

Kelli Heitstuman-Tomko is The Metropolitan News Editor. She is majoring in convergent journalism and expects to graduate in 2014. After earning her degree, Kelli would like to profile cold cases with the hope her work can help solve them.
Kelli Heitstuman-Tomko

Kelli Heitstuman-Tomko is The Metropolitan News Editor. She is majoring in convergent journalism and expects to graduate in 2014. After earning her degree, Kelli would like to profile cold cases with the hope her work can help solve them.

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